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Reviews, thoughts, ramblings and so on…

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Concert – The o2, Dublin – November 4th

Well, here goes proper review number 1.

Where better to start than by reviewing my experience at the concert of one of my all time favourite bands? No where, that’s where better.

As I write this I will try not to be swayed by the Chili Peppers collection currently being feebly pushed through the mediocre speakers of my laptop, barely audible over my typing.

In any case, the first thoughts that spring to mind when thinking back on the concert is something along the lines of heroic, funk-filled, godlike epicness…and that was just Flea’s bass playing. The performance from the band was spot-on, the crowd was electric, the visuals on the screens behind the performers were top-quality, the jams in between tracks were unbelievable, the lack of John Frusciante by the time I actually got to see the Chilis live was forgotten and Flea was, as mentioned, heroic.

But that’s not where the review ends, mainly because that would be a very poor attempt at a proper review really. Surely you’ll have noticed that at a concert by a group like RHCP things like a spot-on performance, electric crowd, top-notch visuals etc… are pretty much just the given at this stage and Flea’s epicness is pretty well documented.

And he most definitely knows it....

So the review really will focus on the particular experience had at this particular epic Chili’s gig.

So what about the venue?
Being that my only previous experience of the o2 was at a WWE wrestling event at the embarrassingly old age of 20 I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the venue when it came to concerts and the like. I must say though it definitely passed my test with flying colours (in one case, literally, there was some flying colours). The acoustics were grand (and even if they weren’t I couldn’t tell you), the general organisation and set up of the concert area was perfect and the crazy moving screens above the performers heads which randomly spun, lowered and even split apart at one point provided the flying colours.  There were some negatives about the place though, the main one being that it got unnaturally sauna-like in there and the other major negative being the pile of sick in the men’s toilets sink from the start of the night. I’ve intentionally left out the expensive drink prices here because that’s expected really and I wasn’t drinking anyway because of a god-awful hangover.
Other than this though I have to say the venue worked well for this concert. The first thing that struck me about the place was the size of it, which was smaller than I expected (in standing space at least). This worked out brilliantly for us though having been late arriving (because of my friend Morgan’s working hours) but not late enough to miss any of the actual performance (because of my friend Morgan’s ability to push a car that should never see the faster side of 100 kmph to the point where it was physically shaking and because of the same man’s ability to park that car like a ninja). Being forced to stand towards the back in the o2 was fine though. We weren’t far from the stage at all, we could see everything we wanted to and we could get to the bar and back to our same spot again without too much difficulty at all. The size did create some less than comfortable positions closer to the stage but if you really want to be up there you need to brave that kind of thing. It did get seriously messy up there in some cases though.

This leads me to the following point: In a venue like the o2 and at a concert like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is it better to be at the front or the back?

Sure, at most concerts everyone wants to rush to the front, be as close to the band as possible and jump around and go a little bit mad with all the other people who have gone completely mad around you. In most cases I definitely see the attraction of this. At previous concerts at festivals and things I’ve been that little, skinny, sneaky fecker who worms their way to the front under all the arms and legs and pops up right next to the barrier and I’ve had a great time when I got there. At this Chili Peppers’ concert though? Not a hope. This was confirmed 2-3 songs in when two friends who had been up the front appeared before us near the back. They were already weary, gasping for both air and water and soaked through in sweat…and not even their own sweat. Apparently all they saw from the start of the concert to the time they managed to fight their way free of the tide was arm-pits, sweat, the roof, a girl peeing in a bottle, a text on some guy’s phone that read “I am so pissed off” and occasionally,  each other. In case you’re wondering about the build of these people one of them is one of the tallest guys I know and the other one of the tallest girls and neither of them are lacking in strength or in some way physically incapable and even they couldn’t bear it up there. From what I heard when they found us they had absolutely no choice in whether or not they were jumping up and down at the front (this was decided by the majority in the crowd in a strange representation of democracy at work), they were both physically shaking (in a manner not unlike the car on the way up to Dublin) and neither could ignore the feeling that they may fall over at any moment for at least the next 3 songs. Water and a small amount of vodka was the designated cure. This went well.

On this occasion at least they determined the back was the winner hands down (and not just because they physically couldn’t raise their hands any more after the stint up the front). I should also clarify here that it wasn’t like we were all the way back by the door quietly chatting and giving out about the raucous youth of today, it was just that we were beyond the section where movement was involuntary. We were far enough away that we weren’t within reach of the tide of people dragging unfortunate victims off in to the black hole of Calcutta but close enough to the stage that we didn’t look weird jumping up and down when we felt like it. (Do I sound like I’m getting old?)

Only 22 a few days and already I need one of these...

The negatives of the back though are obvious: Usually it means the band you paid so much to see may as well be any collection of coloured dots dancing on the horizon (although in this case that wasn’t really an issue); It almost always results in that moment when your favourite song comes on and you just want to go nuts but all the people around you could just as easily fit in waiting for a train on a platform (resulting in green envy for those who forced their way forward while it was still possible); and it was certainly a decision I regretted for a while when that collection of tall guys took it upon themselves to follow me around and stand in front of me. You also leave yourself open to having to avoid the channels of sweaty people endlessly trying to force their way passed you on the way to or from the black hole of Calcutta.

For this particular concert though I think the back comes off the better option. The small size gets a plus point for the venue because it meant I could still see everything and be fairly close to the band (without being killed by a flying elbow or little person being thrown) even though I arrived late. It also meant that Chad Smith could throw his drumsticks all the way to the back so the short and tired could get some memorabilia.

Then there’s the set list.
The Chilis have an endless back catalog of hits to choose from but we can’t forget they’re still trying to promote their new album at the same time. Having only heard the new album maybe twice before I went to the gig I was hoping they wouldn’t weigh too heavily on the new songs side. Then what would I shout-along to?. Happily, they clearly noted my request. The mix of new to old was practically perfect. The newer songs they played were the more memorable ones from the album “I’m with you” and the old songs they played were a nice mix of the kind of songs you’d have to follow the band to know and those even your mother would have heard before. Despite not noting my other requests for some personal favourites (If they had decided to play Pretty Little Ditty over and over again for 2 hours I would have been fine with it) they definitely made some great choices for their set-list. Around the World in the encore followed by Give it Away was definitely the highlight for me.
Anything else I can think of about the concert probably has to do with how I found myself delighted to be in a hall filled with seriously loud music, people jumping and shouting and beer being thrown around from all directions even though I was nursing a hangover from the night before. I’m not even talking about a small hangover either. We’re talking full blown, night after a mystery tour, had to be wrapped in the kind of foil blanket usually reserved for the people who have just crossed the Atlantic using a small child’s rubber dingy kind of hangover. The fact that in this kind of condition I found myself jumping around like the same small child in a bouncy castle and, to quote my friend Barry :”funking out”, at a concert was inexplicable. Here-in, lies the magic of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

And, as you know, Flea is epic.

The colour is natural...that's how epic he is...

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9 Responses to “The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Concert – The o2, Dublin – November 4th”

  1. i don’t think i could be any more jealous of you right no. really good review. what are you going to do next? i was at the o2 a few times and i agree that it does indeed have sauna like conditions that they really should do something about!

    • I think the next one will be about my trip to the Wiz Khalifa concert in the Olympia. Somehow this is slowly turning in to a review of concert venues in Dublin.
      That review should be coming soon so keep watch.
      The sauna thing probably is something to look in to fixing though but I wouldn’t even know how to start with that one. Maybe handing out water at the front? I mean all the water stands and bars were at the very back of the room from what I could see.

  2. Lucky for me that I found your site, and gathered so much helpful information from your articles.I didn’t have time to read all your articles, but I did bookmark your site for a return trip. Many thanks for the information you have provided.

  3. So to summarize you were in a sauna with the Chilli’s. Too.Jealous.

  4. Good Blog,
    Your fairly on the ball with the sauna part
    Was at the chillis myself that night! was kinda midway between front and back so wasnt too mush fighting for breath but still sweated a bucket! had to buy a chilis tshirt afterwards for 15 bucks just so i would have some dry clothing!
    What did you make of the visuals for californication? I was up on my friends shoulders for the whole song and it was definitely one of the highpoints! Seriously trippy stuff..

    Good call on pretty little ditty but I think 20 years on asking for songs from mothers milk is a bit much:P

    • I think most of my friends bought those tshirts off the randomers outside afterwards. Got a deal of like a tenner cz the woman selling them wanted rid of the last few.
      We all smelled like a rubbish tip for the night! Some unforgettable shower! Haha
      Visuals all around I thought were quite good. Californication was definitely a high point alright though.

      Haha, ya it might be asking a bit much alright but it would have literally made my life if they played that tune.

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